If there has been one thing that has been incredibly frustrating about the 2018 Detroit Lions it’s their extreme turnaround on special teams. Last year, the Lions had one of the best units in the league, both in terms of returning abilities and coverage units. That has all completely changed, and the Lions have already done something about it.
On Monday night the Lions announced that they have fired special teams coach Joe Marciano. Marciano had been the team’s special teams coordinator since the 2015 season.
Head coach Matt Patricia offered this statement on the move:
“Tonight I spoke to Joe and informed him of my decision to relieve him of his responsibilities with our team. I appreciate Joe’s leadership of our special teams units over the last three and a half seasons and have great respect for his many years of service as a coach in the National Football League. On behalf of our team and the entire coaching staff, I want to personally thank Joe for his commitment to the Detroit Lions and wish him and his family the best moving forward.”
In 2018, the Lions rank 24th in average kick return yards allowed and dead-last in average punt return yards allowed. Additionally, the Lions struggled with penalties on their special teams units. On Sunday against the Vikings alone, the Lions had three special teams penalties, which is exactly the kind of problem that has put the Lions offense behind the eight ball.
Detroit’s special teams have severely underachieved this season. They have 14 penalties this season. Only Pittsburgh (19) and Cleveland (15) have more penalties on special teams than the Lions.— Tim Twentyman (@ttwentyman) November 6, 2018
At the moment, the Lions have not announced a replacement, but they do have an assistant special teams coach, Devin Fitzsimmons, on staff.